SABATON – Primo Victoria

SABATON - Primo Victoria


Black Lodge
Release date: March 15, 2005

User Review
8/10 (1 vote)

Sometimes, or most times, really, lazy reporters need to categorize bands. Maybe it’s convenient for the readers as well to get an initial clue and perhaps just skip the review and go on to the next if that first gut feeling says so. With that said, people have been known to call Swedish Sabaton, formed right before the turn of the century, Battle Metal. Seeing a review categorizing the music as Battle Metal, one might be inclined to put the band in the same bag as Turisas and Bal-Sagoth … not fair both to Sabaton and Bal-Sagoth, because Sabaton is pure fucking Heavy Metal.

Vocally, there might be a war cry or two, and their singer – whatever his name is (promo copy info is limited) guys and gals – sure sounds like he is in command of his “Panzer Battalion,” which is one of the catchiest and best tracks here. The singer has a majestic and raspy voice, but could perhaps try to take a chance or two to make it all more diversified. No, no Death Metal vocals found here, but he sure fills the room. Imagine Blaze Bailey, if he had guts, singing and in command of his oral instrument – and there you have it.

Primo Victoria starts out with its title track, in a Judas Priest “All Guns Blazing” way, but only by the singer, and that raises an eyebrow. You first might be a little scared, but then again, isn’t that the best way to mess with your enemy? Oh, not to forgot, this isn’t Battle Metal … Ok, ok, lyrically it might be.

“Primo Victory” is a mid-tempo riffer with a nice atmospheric keyboard curtained in the background. Nothing new here under the sun, or gun, but the choruses instantly get you to sing along and raise your fist. Manowar comes to mind, even more in the next attack, “Reign Of Terror.” This could easily be mistaken for a Fighting The World leftover. Manowar isn’t, by the way, keeping their promise to release another studio album any time soon, so why not substitute Sabaton?

“Panzer Battalion” was mentioned earlier, and it’s a sure bet these warriors from Falun, Sweden, call their fans the Panzer Battalion. “Wolfpack” proves that Sabaton doesn’t go pedal to the metal all the way. It’s not a ballad, by any means, just a change of speed. It’s still a majestic and catchy number, with dark, commanding, and gutsy singing. Hmmm, lyrically, it seems like another war song – not to concede that this is Battle Metal!

“Counterstrike” is perhaps what one would expect this band to be about — double kick drums and a more neoclassical direction — a Blind Guardian meets Manowar with testosterone en mass. The song is well placed after its slower precursor, and the next, “Stalingrad,” with a slightly Progressive touch. It’s not the most impressive song, though, as Sabaton works best when they go to war, like they do in “Into The Fire,” where the Duracell Bunny drummer is fully charged.

“Purple Heart” starts off like an 80s Hair Metal hit, and the groove is a little “Heaven And Hell”-like. The song strengthens the claim that Sabaton offers nothing new – but done as catchy and well-performed as this is, it really works. Sabaton sounds like a few other bands, but no one quite sounds like Sabaton – if that makes any sense… think about that, but in case you don’t feel like doing so: Sabaton is easily recognizable out on the never-ending battlefield of warriors trying to conquer, but Sabaton doesn’t have a sword you haven’t seen before.

With little info, this had to be a run through the songs, and hopefully it made your mouth drool for war (though compliments were kept up to the very end). Sabaton is as catchy as Metal comes, something album closer “Metal Machine” proves. No, style-wise, this is not Battle Metal – but Sabaton will fight, and they will conquer. If you care for originality, though, look somewhere else. Anyway – no guts, no glory: Sabaton has guts, and they are glorious – this might be the best Heavy Metal band out of Sweden since, hmmm … Evergrey?


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